Client Highlight: Maine Milling, LLC – Blue Hill, Maine

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Foster and Loretta Smith of Blue Hill are fourth generation Mainers.  Their family business Maine Milling, LLC was born recently when they purchased from a retired woodsman a radial mill that makes clapboards in the “old style.”  Clapboards from this mill were used in the Paul Revere House in Boston when it was recently restored.

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5 Common Questions about Small Business Financials

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By: Business Advisor Janet Roderick

Understanding your financials is key to operating a healthy and profitable business. As a business advisor at the Maine SBDC at CEI, I help small business owners get a better understanding of their financials so that they can make good decisions about the future of their business. Below are 5 common questions I get from the entrepreneurs and small businesses:

What do I need to track and what is the best way to do it? All transactions in your business should be recorded in an orderly, systematic way.  All money coming in and going out will end up on either the Balance Sheet or the Profit & Loss Statement.  You can use a manual system or a computerized system such as QuickBooks.  It’s your choice as long as you are recording everything in a way you can get useful information out of your system.

Why do financial statements matter? The Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Statement together give you a pretty clear picture of your operations and the health of your business.  They are tools for making management decisions about your business and are sometimes required by people outside your business, such as lenders or investors.

Balance Sheet – What is it?  The balance sheet shows you your asset (what you own), your liabilities (what you owe) and your equity (the difference between assets and liabilities).  It also shows you where you spent your profits.  The Balance Sheet is a snapshot of your business on a specific date. 

Profit & Loss Statement – What is it? The Profit & Loss Statement is like a video of your business.  It shows how you are doing over a period of time. It captures your sales and expenses over time, usually a month or a year, and how much profit you have.

Why doesn’t profit equal cash?  This is a very common question and one that the Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Statements will help answer.  Sales minus all expenses is profit, or loss if expenses are more than sales.  Profit is what you have available to make loan payments, purchase assets such as equipment or take an owner’s draw (money you take out of the business for personal expenses).

Maine SBDC has downloadable financial statement templates including a balance sheet and a profit and loss statement.  
Need some help creating or understanding your financial statements? Click here to find a business advisor near you.

2017 Best Booth Awards – New England Made

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Four exhibitors were recognized for their booth designs at this years New England Made show which took place from March 18-20, 2017 at the Sports Complex in Portland. 


First PlaceMiss Moonmaker of Falmouth, Maine. This booth featured superb lighting and a color theme that popped. The displays enhanced the product and the flooring was a work of art. First place receives $375 credit toward the 2017/2018 NEM show.

Honorable Mention: Lola Arts of Portland, Maine. This booth featured great signage and bright lighting to display and complement the product. Honorable mention receives $150 credit toward the 2017/2018 NEM show.



First Place: C&M Ceramics of Portland, Maine. This booth was focused on, and highlighted the products well. The contrast between the background and the product with the addition of good lighting and use of depth made the product pop. First place receives $375 credit toward the 2017/2018 NEM show. C&M was also awarded the Bruce Baker Award.  The Bruce Baker award is given to a Bruce Baker session attendee who really understood and applied the concepts conveyed in the training session.  

Honorable Mention: Go Babe of Harpswell, Maine. This booth features good lighting and background that emphasized product.  It also had a great display of widely varied product. Honorable mention receives $150 credit toward the 2017/2018 NEM show.


News Release: Maine SBDC celebrates 40 years of helping Maine’s businesses succeed

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SBDC 40 LogoMaine SBDC State Office (Portland, ME) – The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) is celebrating 40 years of helping build and strengthen Maine’s small businesses through no-cost business advising and training.

In 1977, the University of Southern Maine (USM) was among eight pilot sites funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to test the concept of leveraging federal, state and higher education resources to assist entrepreneurs and spur economic growth. The program proved successful. Beginning in 1980, small businesses nationwide could access the services provided by the SBA’s Small Business Development Centers.Read More

Maine SBDC to Celebrate Inaugural SBDC Day March 22

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Nation’s Largest Business Assistance Network Invites Small Businesses, Communities to Join National Celebration

Maine SBDC State Office (Portland, Maine) – Business has changed drastically over the last 40 years, and the Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) has been there throughout. On Wednesday, March 22nd the Maine SBDC will join SBDCs across the country to celebrate the collective impact and success the nationwide program has on the US economy.

SBDC Day is a collective movement created by America’s SBDC, the association representing America’s largest business assistance network of SBDCs. SBDC Day will help share the small business success stories and notable impact that SBDCs have fostered in communities nationwide.Read More

Senator Amy Volk Congratulates Maine SBDC on a Successful 40 Years

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From the Maine Senate Republicans:

AUGUSTA – State Senator Amy Volk (R-Cumberland), chair of the Labor Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee (LCRED), congratulates Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) on celebrating their 40th business anniversary.

“Since 1977, Maine SBDC has helped countless Mainers start over 2,000 new businesses, create and save over 13,400 jobs and obtain over $563 million in capital to open the doors and expand,” said Sen. Volk. “These services have been invaluable, as small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy.”

“Home-grown jobs are responsible for more than 80 percent of total job creation in states including Maine,” said Rep. Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford), LCRED House chair. “The SBDC works every day to make that possible. Our state’s economy, small businesses and communities owe them a great deal.”

Through locations around the state, Maine SBDC leverages federal, state and higher education resources to provide no-cost business advising and training to assist entrepreneurs and spur economic growth. For more information, visit

Starting a business? We have a guide for that!

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You have an idea and want to start a business.  Starting a business is challenging – there are many things to think about, decide upon and do.  At the Maine SBDC one of the most frequent requests we get is for assistance with starting a business. Our goal is to make sure you are on the right track with access to helpful information, resources and expert advice. 

A Guide to Starting a Business in Maine
will help you with your questions, planning, research and preparation to launch a business.  The Guide will answer your questions about determining the probable success of your business, selecting a business entity, finding financing, writing a business plan, registering your business, getting insurance, selecting a name, reporting taxes and much more.

The 24-page Guide provides basic information about starting a business in Maine and contents include:

  • Business Startup Checklist
  • Doing a Feasibility Study
  • Common Business Entities
  • Business Plan Guidelines
  • Financing Your Business
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Where to Get Assistance
  • Maine SBDC locations

This Guide is intended to provide basic information about starting a business in Maine. Your business may have additional requirements or needs that are specific to your type of business that are not covered in this Guide.  It is best used in conjunction with a Maine SBDC business advisor or other business professional.  Call us at 800-679-7232 or email: if you would like assistance.

Click here to download the Guide as a PDF